Article #1: The Union’s Emancipation Proclamation

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Article #1: The

Union’s Emancipation Proclamation:

  1. President Abraham Lincoln is often referred to as the “Great Emancipator”. He was given this title because he is often credited with freeing America’s slaves. On January 1st, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in which he freed all of the slaves living in the Confederate states. On that day he stated,

On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforth, and forever free….
Many people in the Union wondered why Lincoln chose to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Historians have discovered that there are many answers to that question.

  1. One factor that influenced Lincoln’s decision was his disdain for the institution of slavery. While Lincoln did not like slavery, he was a strong supporter of the Constitution. He believed that the Constitution granted the southern states the right to own slaves and therefore, the only way to abolish slavery was through a Constitutional Amendment. Throughout the early years of his presidency abolitionists like Frederick Douglass pressured Lincoln to ban slavery, but Lincoln did not feel he had the power to do so.

  1. Lincoln knew that the Constitution did not grant him the presidential power to abolish slavery, but it did grant him other powers. For example, the Constitution states that the President of the United States is to serve as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Military. Lincoln began to examine how he could use his power over the military to abolish slavery. Lincoln began to view “emancipation” as a military strategy.

  1. Lincoln believed that freeing the slaves would increase the Union’s chances of winning the war. His advisors argued that by freeing the slaves, Lincoln would be sending a message to the South that they were still a part of the Union. Lincoln also knew that freeing the slaves in the South would hurt the southern economy. If the slaves weren’t working the plantations, the South’s economy would crumble. Lincoln asked former slaves to avoid lashing out violently against the slave owners, unless it was in self-defense:

And I hereby [request that] the people so declared to be free [avoid] all violence, unless in necessary self-defense.

  1. Lincoln also believed that the emancipation of the South’s slaves would help the Union’s army. In the Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln declared that African-Americans would be allowed to fight in the Union Army. He encouraged both free and enslaved African Americans to join the fight. After the Emancipation Proclamation was announced, the military began actively recruiting black soldiers. Frederick Douglass suggested that they would fight harder than any soldier on the battlefield.

  1. In September of 1862, following the Union’s victory at the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln issued a warning to the South. Lincoln stated that if the Confederacy did not surrender by January 1st, 1863, that he would free all of the slaves living there. On January 1st, 1863, Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation in which he declared all slaves living in the Confederacy to be free. Lincoln did not free any of the slaves living in the border states, because the Constitution did not give him such power. He was only able to free the slaves in the South because it was a military maneuver.

Article #2: The Confederate Response to the Emancipation Proclamation:

  1. Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America, issued a public statement after Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. Davis claimed that Lincoln had no authority over the Confederacy and that the proclamation would not be recognized nor enforced. In an issue of Harper’s Weekly, a popular magazine at the time, Davis claimed that Lincoln’s proclamation would confuse the slaves living in the South. Davis said that most of the slaves were happy and that Lincoln’s message “encouraged…a general assassination of their masters.” Davis was saying that Lincoln was encouraging slaves to kill slave owners in the South. He condemned Lincoln for trying to cause violence in the South. Davis stated that any slaves that tried to escape as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation would be dealt with harshly. He also threatened any citizens who tried to help slaves escape.

  1. Davis took this as an opportunity to tell the world “I told you so.” When Lincoln was first elected president in 1860, many Southerners feared that he and the Republican Party would try to abolish slavery. Southerner states cited this as one of the main reasons that they decided to secede from the Union and form their own country in 1861. Lincoln stated on many occasions before his election that he did not intend to ban slavery. Davis stated that the Emancipation Proclamation “affords people the complete and crowning proof” that Lincoln and the Republicans had been planning on abolishing slavery all along.

  1. The Confederate Congress agreed with President Jefferson Davis. The Congress believed that the Emancipation Proclamation was designed to encourage the slaves to revolt against their owners. In May of 1863, the Confederate Congress amended its laws for dealing with POWs (prisoners of war). Following the Emancipation Proclamation, the Confederate Congress declared that any white officers that commanded over or helped black soldiers would be executed. The Confederate Congress also stated that all black POWs would either be put to death or forced back into slavery. Upon hearing this decree, General Edmund Kirby Smith, head of all the Confederate forces west of the Mississippi River, learned that 50 black soldiers had been captured at Miliken’s Bend, Louisiana. General Smith ordered all 50 soldiers be turned over to the state of Louisiana. They were put on trial for “crimes against the State” and later executed.

Name: U.S. History


Emancipation Proclamation: Union & Confederacy POV

Reading Comprehension
Directions: Read the text and answer the following questions. You will have 25 minutes to complete this assignment.

  1. Which of the following best illustrates the text structure used in the passages above (look at the two articles as one piece of text)?

a. cause/effect b. compare/contrast

c. main idea/supporting details d. sequence of events

  1. Which position can be supported by the information in Article #2?

    1. Lincoln had the right to free the slaves only living in the South because he was acting as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military

    2. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation proved that the Union still maintained control over the Southern States even though they had decided to secede

    3. While campaigning to become president in 1860, Lincoln did not truly want to abolish slavery; he was only doing so in 1863 to bring about a quick end to the war

    4. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was helpful to the slaves living in the South

  1. According to the text, why didn’t Lincoln free the slaves in the border states?

    1. He was not truly and abolitionist and did not believe that the slaves in those states deserved to be free

    2. Lincoln feared that those states might turn against the Union and lessen the Union’s chances of winning the war.

    3. Since those states were loyal to the Union, he believed the Constitution did not grant him the authority to ban slavery in those states.

    4. The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves including those in the border states

  1. Which of the following would most likely be included in paragraph # 9?

    1. About 20% of the slave population left their homes following Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

    2. There are records of slaves violently rebelling against their owners in the state of Virginia following Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

    3. The Confederacy hoped that its new policy would discourage white Union officers from volunteering to command units black soldiers.

    4. The Confederacy did not believe that Lincoln had an authority in the South when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863

  1. Why did the author include paragraph #5?

    1. To provide evidence that the border states would be opposed to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

    2. To explain how the emancipation of southern slaves would help the Union in their war against the South

    3. To hint at how the South would react to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

    4. To provide evidence showing that Lincoln was morally opposed to slavery

  1. Using information from the passage, write a paragraph that could have appeared in Jefferson Davis’ journal.



  1. Identify the important factors that helped Lincoln to decide to free the slaves living in the Confederate states. Use details from the article(s) to help support your answer.



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